The MIPFormats 2013 edition kicked off yesterday at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. The format business is a booming one, for good and for bad (but mostly for good). The good part is that producers can get the formats they create on air in any which one territory in the universe, if the ideas are good enough and they manage to find a buyer. For the viewers, there is the added value of tried and tested content being produced for them; chances are, whatever you’re watching, it already has a strong track records in at least three other territories, which means that most of the wrinkles have been ironed out and what you’re experiencing is the show at its best.
The drawback is of course that diversity is hampered. In one way this is bad, as this means that unique ideas may never get produced and genius but niche solutions may never get financed. In another way it’s perhaps not so bad; evolution-like, the strongest ones will survive and rise to the top.
There were quite a few interesting sessions, some of which I could not attend due to meetings. At the ”Fresh Formats around the World” showcase the Japanese (again) caught the most attention – Clock Hanger was simpy brilliant, if silly, featuring a quiz show where the contestant hangs on to the large hand of a gigantic clock, answering questions as the hand turns and having to hang on while answering to avoid falling down into a puddle of mud. Genius!
The Nordic focus on formats also showed some really good shows – ”Entertainment with a Purpose”, as Jan Salling put it. Stop bullying was the theme of one show, change the behaviour of reckless young drivers another one. You can access all of the formats at Nordic World’s pages.
Tom McDonnel of Monterosa gave a good presentation on developing formats with second screen elements; “The greater the conceptual intersection between TV and 2nd screen, the more people will participate” is a good quote to take from the session. Also the absolute need to make it simple to understand and easy to use. Also, if going global with your second screen experience, there are five points to remember – 1. Make it great but cheap, 2. Make it really easy, 3. Make sure you let the customer/broadcaster set it up themselves, 4. Make sure to give them control and 5. Make sure to sell them the benefits of the second screen solution (Entertain audience more, activate sponsorship & create media opportunities and get registration and data).
Looking forward to some interesting days ahead!